Design.blog

A fellow designer and coworker of mine at Automattic, John Maeda, has been curating articles on the fairly new design.blog since August last year. After WordCamp US, he invited Mel Choyce and me to write an article for it each.

He also asked me to design the cover. Designing the cover felt similar to coding for CSS Zen Garden, thought I had a tad more control over the HTML. Javascript, however, was a no go. I did some fancy Sass tricks to generate the absurd CSS for the animations. I hope you like it.

Here is my cover, which includes the links to Mel’s and my articles. You should also peruse and follow the various articles and covers produced on design.blog. They are quite delightful.

What is the WordPress dashboard for?

Right now, the WordPress dashboard is my least used and most visited page in the admin. I don’t know the history of why it was made and the decisions about it along the way. It seems like the why might be “because we needed a place for users to go when they logged in” and expanded from there.

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Fight with colors on my blog, please

George Stephanis and I created a nifty little WordPress plugin over the last couple days for funsies called Hugh.

Hugh allows to add a widget to your site that does one thing and one thing only. Hugh allows anyone on your site to change the color of your blog theme!

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On being a friggin cyber designer

I live in mild terror of a single question. It usually crops up when I meet someone for the first time. It’s not because the question is a difficult one for most people. In fact, it’s one many people enjoy answering.

What do you do?

Well, shit. I guess it’s time for me to attempt a meaningful answer to this. Here we go.

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The shape of WordPress shapes the web

I’ve been thinking a little about the design of PowerPoint, WordPress, and WordPress.com lately. More specifically, I’ve been thinking about Edward Tufte’s criticism of how the design of the PowerPoint software is to blame for the Challenger disaster.

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WordPress commit

This weekend, a whole new set of committers were announced at the first ever WordCamp US. I was among those #blessed with commit.

What the heck is commit?

For those of you who don’t hang around making Internet all day, commit is just a term for the ability to send code somewhere. In this case, it members of the WordPress community entrusted me with the ability to approve and send code to the nightly build of WordPress. Historically, there haven’t been many people with this access so it’s a pretty big honor and a sign of trust. I take it very seriously.

So here’s what happened…

Unlike Mel, I did not find out in a bar. I was on the way to the store to get some well-deserved drinks for one of the organizers when I got a ping from Nacin. It went something like this:

Screen Shot

This was great news already. When I originally created my account, my username was “Michael Arestad”… With the space. This meant that no one could mention me on any WordPress.org site. I was thrilled to finally have this fixed for me!

Then he followed up with something fairly ominous:

Screen Shot

Oh? There is? I was immediately pondering what that meant and trying to figure out scenarios where it would make sense to remove all spaces from names. Way off.

It turns out, the real reason for the name change was so I could become a committer.

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The next few days were a bit of a blur partly because the conference was crazy, but that one completely unreal fact was bouncing around my head like Flubber™ wreaking all sorts of havoc.

Then Sunday happened. The new committers were tasked with committing something by the end of the day at the Contributor Day. This is when reality set in for us. I can tell you both Mel and I freaked out quite a bit even submitting a small change.

I have to say I am incredibly honored. I am one among very few designers who have commit. I plan to do my very best help guide the design of WordPress and maybe (if I’m lucky and have help) simplify some of those totes cray CSS selectors.

I was given commit with brilliant folks who I have the utmost respect for. Congrats to Mel Choyce (also a designer!!!), Rachel Baker, Joe Hoyle, Eric Lewis, Mike Schroder, and Pascal Birchler!

Fun fact

Mel Choyce was one of the first people I worked with in my initial attempt to contribute to core. It was on CEUX  (rest in peace) which was an effort to introduce content blocks into the editor. Content blocks bring people together.